April 15, 2010
By Bob Lechel
One of Gary Yamamoto’s favorite baits, the Swimming Senko, has been on the market for several years.
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The Pitching Rig
This is one of my favorite applications for the Swimming Senko and I use it quite frequently from pre-spawn through post spawn. It really shines when fish are suspending off the bottom in cover or next to vertical structure (bluff walls or drop offs). I rig a 1/32 or 1/16 oz bullet weight tex-posed rig using a 4/0 or 5/0 heavy wire, wide gap, off-set hook. I actually use the 1/16 oz lead weight most of the time as it creates a more streamlined nose, allowing the rig to come through the cover more easily, especially old hard woods. I usually peg it with a rubber bobber stop, but after reading
I try to pitch to the cover from as far away as is practical. This rig is really effective with suspended fish and I don’t want to spook fish by getting too close. I peel off some extra line after the bait hits the water to ensure it falls straight down into the cover or along the vertical structure. These lighter weights allow the Swimming Senko to nose down into the cover and the swim tail to do its thing with its seductive “thump, thump, thump”. The light weight keeps the bait in the strike zone longer as the fall rate is moderate to slow.
About 60% of my bites come on the initial drop, either on the way down or as it hits bottom. This is common with many soft plastic presentations. What’s interesting is that the other 40% of the time, when I’m lifting the bait up out of the cover and the bait is just cresting, it pauses for a second as the upward momentum shifts and it starts back down. I’ve had fish come crashing through the cover and hammer it at this point, so it’s a good idea to be ready. If your rod is high and not in a good position to set the hook, you’ll lose fish. This happened to me the first time or two. I recommend using a high speed reel (7:1 ratio) to allow you to quickly recover the line, allowing for a good hook set.
I typically use a 7 ft heavy action rod with 16 to 20 lb fluorocarbon line. This is not a finesse technique and you need enough back bone to drive the heavy gauge hook home. This rig has its limitations - it won’t penetrate thick or matted cover and if the wind is high you are out of luck. In either of these cases, the typical heavier rigs for pitching and flipping outlined in
I haven’t seen many guys using the Swimming Senko on a
Additionally, you can recycle Swimming Senkos you have already used with the traditional methods. Don’t throw them away! I always shorten the 5” Swimming Senko before I thread it on the vibrating jig hook anyway. Shortening a used Swimming Senko gives you a solid piece of plastic to use as a trailer. This is an excellent way to get the most bang for your buck out of these baits.